Thembi Mabaso, a qualified social worker with a passion for community development, made a significant career shift after being awarded a bursary fund. This financial support enabled her to pursue studies in property management, a field where she now blends her deep understanding of social issues with practical skills in managing Communicare properties.

Transition to Property Management
Thembi Mabaso joined Communicare in 2017 as a Social Development Officer for Vulamathuba Empumelelo, Communicare’s social and community development arm.
“There are a few things that led me to yearn for a career change, including my interest in learning more about the property industry. It is a scarce skill that entails a variety of tasks. You can never be bored to do your job,” she says.

Social Work Perspective in Property Management
Thembi’s unique background as a social worker equips her with a compassionate perspective and a commitment to improving living conditions, which she now channels into her property management role, striving to create a well-managed housing environment.
“As a Property Manager, you are still serving people and many times I have been privileged to tap into my social work skills. You need to be a natural problem solver, think on your feet, and be able to keep calm in a crisis and expect the unexpected. I have been extremely fortunate to start my career at Communicare, and to be given an opportunity to serve the community that clearly defines the name ‘Communicare’.”

Impact of Bursary Support on Thembi’s Career Growth
“The bursary gave me the peace of mind that all my fees are paid. When I started working for Communicare, I knew that I wanted to go back to school. I was also inspired by women who are occupying significant positions and are doing so well in their positions. As a black woman, we have what we call a ‘black tax’ (providing financial support to less financially secure family members). This has made it difficult for me to afford the fees to study further. When Vulamathuba introduced the bursary opportunity to staff members, I pitched the idea to my manager at the time, Noma-Afrika Maxwele, who was very supportive.”

Professional Growth and Supportive Environment
However, the significant shift in responsibilities, made the transition from a Social Development Officer to a Property Manager initially challenging. Fortunately, she received invaluable support from both colleagues and tenants, which helped her navigate and succeed in her new role.
“Knowing the kind of tenants I am serving is my biggest gain. Sometimes, my day is not going according to plan, and I’m grateful to work with such a great team that is always willing to help.

Considering the community that I’m serving, my social work degree is advantageous especially when it comes to conflict resolution, understanding human behaviours, and dealing with stress.

Lynn Oliver, the Portfolio Manager, is my biggest supporter. Whenever I am stuck, I pick up the phone and she is always willing to help. If you have a good support system, you can achieve anything.”

Future Aspirations and Advice
Thembi plans to explore property management in the retail industry and advises those pursuing higher education to “do proper research and attend a career exhibition. The world is evolving, choosing a career is not only about what you like but also look at the gap in the market and align yourself with scarce skills. This will put you at an advantage when you have completed your qualification.”

Get in touch
Are you interested in learning more about Vulamathuba Empumelelo programmes, including learnerships, matric programmes, bursaries, job seekers, skills and training programme funding, and more? Visit our website at or contact us at for further information.